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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

MARXIST    HISTORY

It is well that we should have a great respect for
something that is unanswerable and inescapable in some
of the grim conditioning factors in life—well that we
should realise and study the operation of hard necessity
in the world, and should regard this as being itself part
of the Providential order. I would not say anything
against the sublimity of pure intellect, the majesty of
mind. But I cannot forget that so far as the historian's
universe is concerned any light there may be in my eyes
could be put out by a few blows on the head with a
hamjner. Even cooped up in something like Hitlerite
Germany I might be confident that I could still find
things for the mind to think about; and secretly at dead
of night I might let my thoughts go where they liked
and count myself king of infinite space. But this itself
would have to be on the condition that I were not starvpd
to death or flogged out of my wits.

The first inescapable condition tMtf w? tfiust ttave
before we can possess any history at all is that people
should be able physically to live—should not be wiped
out by starvation. Before they can have continuous
intellectual life of any high order it is possibly necessary
that they should not even live in constant unmitigated
fear of starvation. Before they can have metaphysics,
experimental science, or the rationalistic outlook it
might even be necessary that means of production should
have reached a certain level and facilitated a division of
kbour and complicated the social structure and made
possible certain kinds of technique. One $eg^npt for
a moment forget that ideas are impog
important as conditioning factors to<

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